How are you coping with the impending European Cup final? I’ve noticed on Twitter that there’s a certain faction of supporters who feel the need to attack anyone and everyone that posts about anything other than the trip to Madrid. They think that everyone’s focus should be on nothing but the trip to Spain and the match against Tottenham Hotspur, as though if I tweet something about thinking Daniel Sturridge’s time at the club is over then it will completely ruin the confidence of every single player in the squad ahead of their visit to the Wanda Metropolitano. Others, and I very much put myself into this bracket, want to talk about anything but the final because it feels so far away and the pressure already feels like too much for me to cope with. This Liverpool team unquestionably deserves a trophy and to miss out on both the Premier League and Champions League in this of all seasons would be heart-breaking, so I’m distracting myself with trivialities.
Who’re you backing? 👇 pic.twitter.com/KFhGbOB9pS
— Nick (@ChuanGraphics) May 21, 2019
One such triviality is a good old think about Liverpool’s likely transfer dealings this summer. It’s a gamble, of course, because any slight mention of such a thought has seen me receive abusive messages from people on Twitter who feel as though I’m disrespecting the players ahead of the final. It’s a ridiculous idea for so many reasons, not least of which is the fact that if players or representatives of the club are following me on Twitter then I’m far more influential than I realised. Let’s get something absolutely straight: I do not have the ability to influence football matches with a tweet and if I did then I’d be using my influence for good rather than evil and we’d have won the title. On top of that, Jordan Henderson has been the subject of despicable abuse online and a lack of respect at Anfield for most of his Liverpool career, but he’s enjoyed his best season in Red since 2013-2014 this year. You might not like people talking about transfers, but let’s get over the idea that doing so will influence anything at all.
Klopp Has Immense Faith In His Players
One of the main reasons why this transfer window is likely to be a disappointing one for supporters is that Jürgen Klopp has much more faith in his players than we do. If I were to draw up a list of players I’d be moving on in this window it would look something like this:
- Alberto Moreno
- Simon Mignolet
- Adam Lallana
- Dejan Lovren
- Daniel Sturridge
- Ben Woodburn
I’d move them on for a host of different reasons. I think we can all agree that Alberto Moreno’s time at the club is up, though I’d be quick to point out that he’s a much better defender than most give him credit for. Simon Mignolet can be put into a similar bracket. He’s not a terrible goalkeeper, he’s a perfectly fine one. Yet that’s not enough for this Liverpool squad and we’ll be better off if we could bring someone in that is more suited to the style of football that Jürgen Klopp likes his team to play.
When it comes to the next three on that list, the reasoning is much the same for each of them. None of Adam Lalana, Dejan Lovren or Daniel Sturridge can be relied upon in terms of fitness, however talented they may be as players. Whenever we might want to turn to one of them they are invariably not fit enough to make it onto the pitch. In the case of Sturridge, his quality can’t be argued with but his inability to run most certainly can. His last few appearances in a Liverpool shirt have looked as though they’re little more than testimonials. As for Ben Woodburn, I’m just not convinced he’s got what it takes and he deserves to find a career somewhere.The reality is, though, that the manager seems to have enough faith in most of them to keep them around a bit longer. Whatever the majority of Liverpool fans might think of Lovren, for example, Klopp loves chucking him into the starting eleven pretty much any time he’s fit. The same is true of Lallana, who the German has long thought of as being like his general on the pitch. Don’t forget he’s who Klopp turned to when Mo Salah was injured in the Champions League final last year. He’s also given Sturridge a number of appearances in the absence of Roberto Firmino over the past couple of months, so does the manager think he needs to keep a lot of the players most of us would get rid of in order to ensure he’s got options for cup games and so on next season?
The Squad Will Be Tweaked, Not Overhauled
Let’s be honest, this Liverpool squad made it to the final of the Champions League at the same time as acquiring 97 points in the Premier League. It would be churlish in the extreme to suggest that the manager needs to rip it apart and start again. Most supporters would agree with that, for what it’s worth, but they’d also point to the lack of genuine options in certain parts of the team. What would happen if Virgil van Dijk got injured, for example? As good as Joe Gomez has been, would he be able to step up alongside Joel Matip or Dejan Lovren and offer the same solidity that Virgil has? Likewise, we’ve seen towards the end of the season how tricky it is to be missing Roberto Firmino, so surely bringing in a player that could rotate with the front three is a must?
Vinny O’Connor, Sky: “#LFC are also being talked of as possible suitors for Matthijs de Ligt in a £75m deal to further improve a back line that kept 21 Premier League clean sheets. The Ajax centre back has established a partnership with Virgil Van Dijk at international level.”
— Matt (@FalseFMatt) May 17, 2019
Yet as much as Liverpool supporters might hope that the club goes big in the transfer market in order to improve from a position of strength, the manager probably doesn’t feel that way. He believes in his own ability to train players and would doubtless point to the improvements in pretty much every member of his squad as proof of that. Of course, both the German and Michael Edwards have done more than enough to earn our trust and faith this summer, so whoever they bring in will doubtless improve our squad even if it doesn’t overhaul it. After all, no one was blown away by the signing of Andy Robertson but he’s proven himself as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League if not Europe. Personally, I’d like a new reserve goalkeeper (Pepe Reina, anyone?) as well as a back-up full-back that can cover both sides and an attacker who can play all across the front three positions. As for Matthijs de Ligt? Well, if the shoe fits…